Bethel University picks McElroy as next head football coach

Bethel University has hired from within to replace longtime football coach Steve Johnson.

The program announced Tuesday that Mike McElroy will take over for Johnson, who announced his retirement after 35 seasons last fall.

McElroy has been the Royals’ defensive coordinator since 2017.

“I’m thrilled that Mike McElroy will be the next head coach of the Bethel football program,” Bethel Director of Athletics Greg Peterson said. “During the process, Mike set himself apart with his authentic faith and plan for transformation in the lives of the young men in the program, his recruiting plan and evidence of recruiting at a high level, and his experience leading one of the top defenses in the country that has been a catalyst for three straight NCAA playoff experiences, including an Elite Eight in 2022, and Bethel’s sixth MIAC championship. Mike is a steady and strong leader who cares deeply about the development of the young men he coaches. I’m so excited for his passion to combine athletic excellence and Kingdom impact.”

Bethel went 8-2 in the 2023 regular season before falling to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the opening round of the playoffs.